Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Getting under the skin

London is the place if you want to see the weird and wonderful. And the Body Worlds exhibition is no exception – expect giggling teenagers and voyeurs.

The exhibition, held at the O2 Bubble, has a number of models on show, which are all real human bodies donated at death for medical science. They have been preserved using a technique called plastination and are displayed in various poses, skin removed and cut open to show the anatomy of the human body – all in the name of education.

It’s sort of gruesome and probably not recommended when hung-over.

They don’t smell, which is a plus, but some of the exhibits do look like their sweating. And viewing them, other than the desire not to get too close, is the overwhelming thought of beef jerky.

But it was the eyelashes that did it for me. Here were these models stripped of their skin, eyeballs staring unseeing from their sockets and still complete with a set of bleached eyelashes. One word – creepy.

In fact the hair in general wasn’t particularly pleasant. One model whose skin had been removed and modelled next to the body, like a piece of clothing, included all the body hairs – if you get my drift. To top it off the soles of his feet were dirty.

With gentle music playing in the background there was a hushed silence as people viewed the models and had quiet discussions about various parts of the anatomy. The quiet was often punctuated by the giggles of a teenager who thought some body part was worth a laugh.

The R16 room was considerably more, shall we say, lively where a man and woman model were in the midst of a passionate sexual act (well as passionate as you can be when you’re dead and your skin has been removed). The abdomen of the woman had been cut away so as to view the erect member in place. It’s not like this was anything new – I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen the images in sex-ed class – yet everyone crowded around staring intently and whispering furiously behind their hands.

What I couldn’t understand was the point of an R16 room when the room next door, albeit not so graphic, was still along the same lines with various organs on show.

Besides the plasticised models there were exhibits of diseased lungs from smoking, haemorrhages in the brain, and a cross section of an obese person.

But top on the list was a plasticised giraffe. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.

1 comment:

  1. Eww yes interesting but a bit yukky... reminds me of the time I picked up and held a plasticised human brain at a medical show, thinking it was just a model. Needless to say I was not thrilled to be advised it was real!